I loved lure fishing with the Shimano Sustain 4000FG spinning reel from the first time I used it, but over time I lost a bit of that love for it when firstly the frigging handle broke on me out of the blue when the bass were on the feed (typical), and subsequently I felt that it went a bit “grindy” feeling that little too quickly for the price. Granted, I have only ever used the reel in saltwater, but I do my best to look after my gear and I do accept that spinning reels simply aren’t going to stay buttery smooth for a long period of time with how we use them. But I really like fishing with this Sustain 4000FG and it just sits right on a number of lure rods I might mess around with (and especially that ridiculously good HTO 9’6’’ Shore Game rod).
Anyway, I think I asked around on Facebook last year about somewhere to send the reel off for a service, and an angler kindly recommended Ron Whittingdon of Unit 5 Reel Servicing & Repair up in Torquay, south Devon. I contacted Ron via his website, sent my Sustain to him, and from memory about a week or two later my reel arrived back here. I got the reel serviced earlier last year, and then apart from spinning the handle a few times I didn’t actually start using the reel again until late last year. I went out fishing (blanking!) with it again the other day and it really struck me just how good the reel felt after that service.
Ron charges £18 for a full spinning reel service, with parts and postage on top of that, and I’ve got a figure of about £40 in my head that I think I paid, and that was the service, a few replacement bearings, plus the postage back to me. I don’t know if the Sustain was designed primarily for saltwater use, but I have a niggling feeling that perhaps that the original Shimano bearings ain’t quite up to the job, and I know that after speaking to Ron the other day and asking him a few questions, he uses only high quality stainless steel bearings as and when a reel needs some replacing - and my Sustain did.
How good does it feel now? Like it’s brand new all over again - damn it’s smooth and lovely to use! How long will it stay like that? I can’t tell you, but I am far happier knowing that there are some high stainless steel bearings inside the reel for starters, and at the end of the day I have dealt with Ron and his Unit 5 Reel Servicing & Repair the one time and I had an excellent experience, so if the reel fails on me in the future I will simply box it up and send it off to Ron for some further TLC. This Sustain 4000FG is a truly stunning spinning reel to lure fish with and to be honest I think us anglers who thrash our gear in and around saltwater perhaps need to factor into our buying decisions the fact that items like spinning reels are going to need to be serviced from time to time - and especially with repeated saltwater use, however well we try and look after them. Many thanks Ron for the excellent service and I shall be digging out a few more spinning reels of mine that could do with some of his skilful care and attention.